“Be true to yourself”
We hear that a lot as a guide for what decisions to make in life. One definition on the web says it “means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe.” Is that really the best way to go? Is being true to yourself going to give the best result?
I think it sounds very encouraging when we say being true to ourselves is to know and love ourselves and not to do something that goes against our values just to gain acceptance from others. It’s mostly true. But because we are each fundamentally flawed, starting from when Adam and Eve decided to be true to themselves, our best intentions will be clouded by selfishness, self-preservation and self-righteousness. Being true to a flawed “self” will mean those decisions made will also be flawed…because at the very core of it, “being true to yourself” is self-seeking.
@RevTedNg was sharing that if you are married, then your first concern is to be true to your spouse and to put yourself aside. If you were true to yourself, you couldn’t be true to your spouse. Being true to yourself would mean you put your concerns, beliefs and happiness and well-being above your spouse’s…and we know that is a quick way to tank that relationship. Or any relationship. You might say, “but one of my values is to be faithful to my husband, so being true to myself includes that.” Yes, but is one of your values also that you deserve happiness and to feel loved? What if someone else makes you feel happier or more loved? Which value will stand? Our culture advises, “Listen to your heart!” But the Bible warns “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) I think God knows our hearts more than we’re willing to admit. And so He warns us that we CANNOT trust it to lead us in the right way.
And if you are Christ following, then the top priority is ultimately to be true to Christ. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Being true to Christ is to live in a manner worthy of bearing His name. It is to give entirely of yourself to God, submitting to whatever He might want so that you can be made more Christ-like. It is daily choosing “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” and to “not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 12:1-2) ….patterns that tell you to “be true to yourself”, “listen to your heart” or “you know what’s best for you”.
With eternal rewards in mind, I think we first need to be true to Christ for the best outcome in everything else. God’s values and principles are unchanging, unfailing and comes wholly out of His LOVE. When we line our lives up to be true to HIS values, then, and only then, could we be true to our spouses and true to ourselves…in the way God designed His goodness to be lived out in us.